Chapter 263: Excuses, Excuses

on November 7, 2014 in Volume 2 Book 8: Elven Holiday, Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which Mackenzie Takes Nicki In

While some of Glory’s court were taking advantage of the relaxed formalities to get intimate with each other in ways that would previously have been fraught with complications, Grace was apparently celebrating it by indulging in another form of intercourse.

I found Nicki in a corner watching her talking to two of the older, more senior members of the court. It was hard to read their faces, but they were responding to her, at least.

“It’s so great for her,” Nicki said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. Grace was no longer the newest member of Glory’s court, but her actual position hadn’t changed much with the addition of the handful of newbies. She was still younger than Wisdom or any of the other new recruits, and she didn’t bring a lot of experience or capital with her. Nobody would be so rude as to suggest that she was only in the court because she was the queen’s sister, but that was partly because they didn’t need to and partly because Glory would never do anything to elevate her unfairly over the others, even if that meant erring on the side of caution and keeping her at the bottom.

“She hasn’t really been, you know,” Nicki said. “I mean, she sort of services everyone anyway, so maybe there wouldn’t be the same novelty. ”

“It’s her vacation, too,” I said.

“I guess,” Nicki said. “And ours. ” She cupped her hands under her breasts. “We’re… I really don’t believe we’re like, standing here, naked, with all these women. Also naked. This is a thing that’s happening.”

“Yeah,” I said. You might have thought that each time I was reminded of these facts… my own nudity, the abundance of impossibly beautiful women around me, their nudity… the impact would be lessened, but it really wasn’t.

“You know, when you blush, you kind of blush… all over,” Nicki said, and then she was blushing. “Oh, sorry! But can you believe this? I kind of feel like… well, exactly the way you didn’t want me to feel when we first got here.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like I’m at an all-you-can-eat buffet and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wait or just go get a plate and fill it up,” she said.

“That’s one way to put it,” I said. “Though, I mean… everyone’s way more than just nice-looking, but not really my type. If I didn’t like Glory for being Glory, I don’t think I’d be that interested in an elven woman.”

“Really?” Nicki said. She put her hands on either side of her belly and squeezed a little. She was a little pudgy all around, and more so in the middle, especially since she’d been snacking and didn’t have any jeans to hold things in. “I’m kind of glad to hear that. I tell you, there’s nothing like elven perfection to ruin my self-esteem… or so I hear… from people who have any.”

“You look fine,” I said. “Remember, the queen and her sister love the human aesthetic, and you have a human look that no one in the court could pull off.”

“I guess that’s true,” she said. “Still, other than Glory and Grace, you’re the only one who’s really looked at me tonight.”

“I… uh… sorry,” I said.

“I guess it’s kind of too bad about the whole permission thing,” Nicki said. “I mean, not too bad that you need it! That makes sense. Just that you can’t get it. I mean, just in case you wanted to do something, you know?”

“I… uh… actually got it,” I said.

“Oh!” Nicki said, though it kind of came out as a squeak. “That’s… good?”

“Nicki… do you really want this?” I asked.

“Mackenzie… don’t tease me, okay? I think I could take it from just about anyone, but not you. You’ve been so nice, and…”

“I wouldn’t tease you,” I said. “About this or anything. Nicki, you’re like the nicest person I know. I’m not sure I’d know how to tease you, and I don’t think I could stand to if I did. If I’m asking you a question, it’s because I don’t know the answer to it, and I want to.”

“You know I… like you,” she said, looking down at her feet. “You have to know that.”

“I know we’re friends, I said. “I know you kind of had a…” I blushed. “I don’t know, I don’t think I can say it without sounding silly or arrogant.”

“I’ll say it: I had a hero worship thing,” she said. “I thought you were awesome. Think! I think you’re awesome. I mean, I know you are.”

“You don’t have to worry about bruising my ego with tenses,” I said. “I understand that getting to know someone is going to change how you see them. And you have a… relationship that someone has with you< position in a relationship someone has with you. So I kind of figured you were over that." "Mack, getting to know you doesn't mean you stop being awesome," she said. "I mean, yeah, I feel kind of silly for the way I looked up to you when you were this distant, untouchable figure... but I haven't stopped looking up to you. I'm just, I don't know, more accurate in my admiration now. My feelings for you... towards you... they haven't changed, exactly. They've... been refined? I don't know. The point is, I like you. A lot.”

“Sorry, this is… I’m still getting used to the idea that people even want to be friends with me,” I said. “I mean, I’ve been through some things with my friends, but I still mostly think of ‘friend’ as being more of an identity people belong to than a way anyone could feel towards me.”

“I know what you mean,” Nicki said.

“That’s the thing that blows my mind,” I said.

“What?”

“That you know that,” I said. “Nicki, I look at you… you’re always so put together, you’re outgoing…”

I’m outgoing?”

“You seem that way on the outside,” I said. “You remind me of what I thought of as the cool girls in high school. Not the super popular ones, the ones that were probably most likely to be judged objectively cool, but the ones I looked at and thought were cool. The ones who knew what they were doing, who did what they wanted without being assholes.”

“That’s crazy,” Nicki said.

“Nicki, when we came here, your hair was banana yellow,” I said. “It’s purple now. How many colors has it been in between those two?”

“You think that’s confidence? I change it more when I’m nervous… the reason I glam my hair every morning isn’t because I’m like super secure or proud of who I am. It’s… it’s like a disguise. It’s like a mask that lets me be a little bit brave, because I can pretend it’s someone else doing it.”

“Well, you don’t look like someone hiding behind a mask,” I said. “All I see is the bravery.”

“That’s what I see when I look at you,,” she said. “But… I’m very happy to be Grace’s girlfriend, and I don’t want that to change. I’m also happy to be your friend, and I don’t want that to change, either.”

“Then we don’t have to do anything, Nicki,” I said.

“But… I do want to do things,” she said. Her head was still tilted downward, but she was looking up< her face, her eyes, were turned up. "I shouldn't have said it, I know, but I really do want to kiss you." "...if you meant it, then you should have said it," I said. "You didn't have to pretend it was a joke, Nicki. You don't need the excuse." "But I do," she said. "I'm not brave. You see?" "You're braver than I am," I said. "You found an excuse to say what you really wanted to do. Me? I find excuses to avoid thinking about it, and I cling to them like they're a lifeboat." "You don't actually cling to lifeboat," she said. "I mean, not if something didn't go horribly wrong. I mean, beyond whatever disaster put you in a lifeboat." "One of these days, I'm going to have a serious conversation about feelings that doesn't devolve into a dissection of a metaphor," I said. "Simile. Whatever. "The point is... I don't know, actually. I don't know what the point is, or if there is one,. Just kiss me, okay? You want to. I don't know what I want, but it might be nice. I mean, I went eighteen years of my life without having a clue I liked girls and without thinking anyone would ever want to kiss me. Let me find out if this is something I’d like to do.”

In the silence that stretched on, I found myself looking at Nicki, without looking away… and I actually saw her. Her breasts, a bit small overall but big on her frame, and with nipples that seemed larger than Amaranth’s, though that might have been proportions playing tricks on me. Her areolas were huge, basically covering the whole front of each boob. When she wasn’t sticking it out and shaking her love handles, the curve of her stomach seemed almost… demure. A bit forward, but shy about it.

Looking lower, I had the awkward realization that I was the only one on the party boat with pubic hair. Well, the only passenger… I couldn’t speak as to the crew’s status in that regard, and didn’t want to.

I hadn’t spent a lot of the evening looking between legs, but it was hard not to see something that was all over the place, and I knew that most of the elves had neat, delicate little labial folds, a lot like Amaranth’s. My glancing familiarity with visual porn had led me to believe that this was the ideal, if not actually common. My own was certainly nothing like that. Nicki’s was somewhere between the two extremes. I don’t know how I’d quantify where she fell on a spectrum, but I couldn’t help feeling some kinship, being one of two people with a human-ish pussy on a ship full of elves.

And that sent a weird, crazy jolt of ecstatic relief through me. I had a deeply ingrained tendency to relate everything that I thought was wrong with me to my demonblood. If my vagina was a gross mess even compared to other vaginas, that was proof that I was a demon on the inside… and of course, the demon made it easy to believe that it was a gross mess.

I could go to town on Amaranth if I wasn’t looking or thinking about what I was doing. Under her sometimes stern tutelage, I’d learned to touch myself, but it was kind of… begrudging. Despite her best efforts, I’d never been able to work my way up to actually getting my face up in her business, and that had never seemed like something that was going to change anytime soon.

Looking at Nicki… and the realization that I was not just looking at Nicki, but looking at Nicki made my face burn hot but didn’t make me look away… I felt like if I was ever going to get over this hang-up, it couldn’t be at the metaphorical hands of Amaranth’s divinely endowed perfection or my own potentially infernally tainted bits.

Settle down, I told myself. You’re putting an awful lot of weight on the possibility of a possible holiday fling with your friend. Anyway, it’s not like she’s even agreed to kiss you, much less…

“Okay,” she said.

“Okay.”

My eyes trailed back up her body to meet hers.

Neither of us moved.

“For fuck’s sake, do I have to smush your faces together?” Glory yelled… not whispered, but yelled. “Kiss each other!”

If you ever thought that being completely nude would be the perfect icebreaker for getting intimate with someone you’ve only been otherwise acquainted with , let me tell you right now that it’s not. All the little questions about how close is too close and where your hands should go acquire an extra layer of meaning and urgency when there’s nothing between the two of you but air. I think we both went through a couple of flaily moments of feeling like we were transgressing horribly upon the other with our physical presence before we both managed to relax a little bit and realize that this was the point of it all after all. We were supposed to be getting physical. It was meant to be intimate. We were kissing.

The attendant freakout over that and basically everything else about it kept me from having a really firm impression of what it was like to kiss my friend on the mouth. I liked it. That was all I could say for sure. It happened, and I liked it. It was horribly awkward, I got an elbow in the tit through means I’m not entirely sure I understand, and when we broke apart, a dozen and a half elves applauded.

Grace and Glory glided up and took us each by the arm.

“I think it’s hot tub time again, don’t you?” Glory said.

“Oh, okay,” Nicki said. “Um, well, thanks, Mackenzie… I guess it was fun while it lasted? ”

“Oh, no,” Glory said. “You’re not done yet.”


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38 Responses to “Chapter 263: Excuses, Excuses”

  1. Order of Chaos says:

    Noone’s willing to let Mack kiss someone at her own pace are they? First Amaranth now Glory.

    Current score: 7
    • TheTurnipKing says:

      Somewhat ironically, Mack’s pace is glacial.

      Current score: 11
      • Trent Baker says:

        I agree, Glory and Grace are just acting like the lubricant, sliding things along. Do people really want a whole cringe-worthy chapter of Mack and Nicki awkwardly making out?

        Current score: 0
      • zeel says:

        Ya, Mackenzie/Glory may have eventually kissed, but Nicki would have died of old age before they got over it. . .

        Current score: 2
  2. Glenn says:

    In this story, we see just how hard Glory has to work to get Mack to explore a new relationship with Nicki. If Glory has talked to the Man about Mack’s education, (in the same way Callahan did), then I think this is what she’s agreed to do, help Mack learn to open up and interact sexually with more people. Unlike some people, I’m pretty sure that Glory and Grace and all the other elves on this trip including Wisdom are not going to reveal that they are “eeeevvilllll” by betraying Mack and Nicki in the chapters before they get back to the University. I don’t think any elf interested in performing that sort of betrayal would have left the safety and privacy of Treehome.

    Current score: 1
    • Glenn says:

      Sorry, deleted post

      Current score: 0
    • Nocker says:

      I think you’re missing the point. People in the MUniverse rarely make deals with the devil because EVUL, they do so because it helps them get from point A to point B faster. Acantha took her deals because she thought she’d make a bunch of money and contacts super easy, not because she had some bizarre desire to bring hell and dragon fire down upon the world. Callahan took the deal because hey, one more Hydra Spawn to round out the ranks, and the information from it might let her get more later that’re equal or better than just the one.

      Glory gained from Mackenzie even without some arbitrary questions tacked on. Remember, thanks to Mackenzie suddenly Glory has a fucking Storm Giant under her command, and Pala is scraping up against epic tier with all of her feats. Combine that with a psychic drow warrior princess and a favored protege of the elven grim reaper and that’s some serious firepower to play with, even before you account the kobold shadowmancer. Getting answers to some serious questions is basically gravy at this point. Though probably tasty gravy, given the mysterious demonic circumstances her uncle evidently died under.

      Current score: 0
      • Cadnawes says:

        I can’t believe I’m going to say this but…. While I think Acantha probably did deal with Mack’s dad, we don’t KNOW that. Or why.

        As for Glory gaining things from association with Mack, sure. We all gain things from eachother. Hell, I’m not dead because of a few of my friends, and I know of at least one case where the reverse is true. That wasn’t the plan when we met.

        Current score: 2
      • Lunaroki says:

        Wait, what? Who’s uncle? What uncle? When was there an uncle? o.O

        Current score: 0
        • Yumi says:

          Well I assume they’re referring to the demon hating elven professor’s husband? With that professor being Glory’s cousin rather than sister or something …but then, I’m not sure what I should call my older cousin’s husband either. Other than Dave.

          Current score: 1
          • Nocker says:

            I vaguely recall Glory herself using the phrase Aunt out of convenience.

            Current score: 1
  3. erratio says:

    eeeeee they’re so cute 🙂

    Current score: 4
  4. Tamina says:

    Right up until Mack said she wanted it, I assumed she was really uncomfortable with the idea and just using excuses to avoid having to turn down a friend. The way she is acting is entirely consistent with someone looking for an out, not secretly yearning for a tryst.

    Does anybody really need to be pushed into having a sexual relationship? I mean, yes, giving someone a shove into making friends and stuff, but she has half a dozen lovers (and is on rocky terms with one) – why are Glory and Amaranth making such a giant deal about this?

    I don’t know…it just sets of my eeesh-o-meter.

    Current score: 1
    • Nocker says:

      It’d help if they had any chemistry(or Alchemy I guess). Amaranth and Mackenzie had chemistry, even if they force it way too hard sometimes. Steff has chemistry, simply because she occasionally forces Mackenzie to act responsible due to dumbass shit like the dagger or potion or half a dozen other things. Even Ian does, or at least did back in Freshman year when his crazy human ideas bumped up against the realities of her life.

      Nicki is basically like taking mentos and diet coke, and then leaving the mentos and pouring regular coke into the diet coke. They’re too similar and the reactions are too muted. There’s no real interplay at work between them. Nicki is basically Ian but without family drama or elemental struggle or literally any of the things that make Ian an even vaguely engaging character.

      Current score: 0
      • Burnsidhe says:

        Uh. Real relationships and real friendships are often as much about the ‘alike’ as the ‘difference’. Relationships that are based solely on conflict and how different people are, often burn bright and then break down.

        Nicki and Mack are very alike. And that has the potential to become a deep, long term friendship (possibly with benefits or maybe just this trip), and it’s good for both of them.

        Current score: 7
        • Nocker says:

          Which is nice for Mackenzie the fictional character. However it’s not quite as nice for the audience, since Nicki isn’t just similar, it’s that she’s never really had character traits that differed her by a real amount, because not many character traits were established to begin with. She’s Nicki, the art student who fucks an elf, and not a whole lot else is there to her.

          We don’t know much about Grace or Glory, but we still kinda know more about them than we do Nicki. They’re related to the very sketchy Einhorn, and the family influence is subtle but there even if they don’t actually seem to like her. Glory has played politics for a while and is tired of the games. Grace is new and still getting used to not being a grabby elf child. They have character and details that establish them and who they are in ways Nicki doesn’t.

          It’s not even a matter of the others being all elven, since there are plenty of interesting human characters with their own spin established in less time. It’s more that there’s almost nothing about Nicki that stands out to make her a distinct character instead of Mackenzie light.

          Current score: 0
          • JS says:

            Technically she’s Nicki, the art student who’s fucked by an elf. 😉

            Current score: 1
            • zeel says:

              Actually, I think she is Nicki, the art student an Elf is fucking.

              Right? Gotta love Elvin relationships. . .

              Current score: 1
          • Trent Baker says:

            I think you are failing to see the context of the story. In the first volume or two AE turned the Tunneling Electron Microscope on Mack and brought her character to life. The characters around her had to be interesting and eccentric just to stand out. Now AE is pulling back the magnification somewhat other characters can be introduced without needing them to be wildly contrasting.
            I think its a good change, her friendship with Nicki shows that even though Mack is half demon she can still be friends with a normal human girl.

            Current score: 1
            • Nocker says:

              I have no problem with the concept of normal human girl.

              But really just give her something, anything really, to make her stand out, beyond her major. At least a hobby!

              Current score: 0
      • Lyssa says:

        I disagree. I find the way Glory is pushing creepy and reminiscent of Amaranth as others have said, but I do think they are genuinely interested in one another. Not for a real, long term relationship, but as a nice time had with a good friend. Just for now. I think that for Mackenzie, affection and sex are very strongly entwined and that seems to be true for Nicki as well.

        I would have liked for it to develop between the two of them more quietly and naturally, but I also understand Mackenzie has a thing for exhibition.

        Current score: 2
  5. Arancaytar says:

    I think you left a bunch of edit annotations in this chapter somehow.

    And you have a… relationship that someone has with you< position in a relationship someone has with you.

    Current score: 1
  6. The Chosen One says:

    “a dozen and a half elves applauded.”

    I spent too long wondering how half an elf applauds before I realized

    she must be the TOP half.

    Current score: 1
    • Lurker At The Gate says:

      I was wondering if Steff had snuck on, myself.

      Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      Aside from what what Lunaroki points out below, it could also refer to a half-elf, or the combined fractions of elves in the room. There easily could enough not-quite full elves to add up to half – though I don’t think Mackenzie would know this or mention it.

      But ya, it means ~18.

      Current score: 0
  7. Lunaroki says:

    The math goes:

    “a dozen and a half” = “a dozen” + “half a dozen” = 12 + 6 = 18

    I suppose I can understand the confusion if one isn’t familiar with the expression. Perhaps it might be clearer if written as “a dozen-and-a-half”, though it’s a common enough phrase that I don’t feel it needs it.

    And now I find myself looking at the word “dozen” like I’ve never seen it before and wondering “How does that mean twelve?”. ^,^

    Current score: 0
    • Christian says:

      ‘Dozen’ = ‘duodecim’ (Latin for ‘twelve’) + a few centuries of accumulated pronunciation changes.

      Current score: 0
    • Nigel says:

      From Old French dozaine “a dozen,” from doze “twelve,” {from Latin duodecim “twelve,” from duo “two” + decem “ten”}, with the Old French suffix -aine commonly added to cardinals to form collectives in a precise sense (“exactly 12,” not “about 12”).

      Current score: 0
  8. Arancaytar says:

    “For fuck’s sake, do I have to smush your faces together?” Glory yelled… not whispered, but yelled. “Kiss each other!”

    “NOW KITH!”

    Shipper on deck… literally.

    Current score: 1
  9. Zathras IX says:

    There is nothing like
    Elven perfection to ruin
    Human self-esteem

    Current score: 3
  10. erianaiel says:

    This really should have been asked with chapter 260 but I had to take some time away and only now had the chance to catch up.
    So I am asking now because I wonder why the story was written to havet the whole of Glory’s court walk (never run, elves walk or glide but never do something as unseemly as run ;)) around naked?

    Current score: 0
  11. spess imvader says:

    Despite Mack’s eternal insecurities, unlike Nikki, there is absolutely nobody she craves or strongly desires that does not want her back. I find her being the daughter of a demon who practises magic more believable than that.

    Current score: 1
    • Nocker says:

      It sounds serendipity until you take into account the infernal curse Mackenzie is under. Every sort of thing that goes bump in the night develops an obsession about her as a matter of course. That’s why the sea devils were so crazy about attacking her and why so many people have lost their shit around her. Even Nymphs, divine though they are, aren’t totally immune given it’s parameters, since it accounts for flesh eating creatures that regularly kill humans as a group, and was made before Paradise but after Khale’s hill full of man eating nymphs(you can notice this at spots, such as Barley suddenly being driven to rape Mackenzie for no real reason, or Amaranth’s conversation with Iona). Humans themselves don’t even appear to be immune in some situations.

      Mackenzie has a potion that keeps it under control now, mostly, but she doesn’t know much about it’s mechanics or what can be done with it. She basically just assumed that the one solution covered the entire thing and that’d be the end of it.

      Current score: 1
      • spess imvader says:

        Yes to all what you said regarding human-eating creatures (mermaids, dragons, demons…), but where did you read that humans and elves are affected and that it affects their sexual instincts? From what her friends say, Mack is cute, but in no way an irresistible diva.

        Khersis curse on demons seems to make female demons irresistible to eat for those who eat humans, and female demons nymphomaniac and violent when drunk or out of control. Though that last part may be to the specific demonhood of Mack which makes her prey on virgins, or even normal for all demons regardless of gender for all we know.

        Current score: 0
        • Nocker says:

          The humans bit is speculation regarding some stuff that happened waaaay in the past. Though that can be attributed to other things so the issue is best dropped.

          Though we have no real method of testing how Mackenzie relates to other half demons, particularly since it seems each is an island unto themselves in terms of diet and habits. We only know a small amount about a small number of demon blood feeding habits and they’re so out there and all over the place the only thing we know for sure is that it’s some kind of arbitrary crapshot.

          Current score: 0
    • zeel says:

      That isn’t the insecurities, it’s the introversion. She is too busy in her own head to really notice other people. I don’t think it’s that abnormal really, if not for Amaranth (and Puddy. . .) she would probably still be virgin and probably still not noticing boys or girls.

      Current score: 0